Misunderstanding Written Communication: texts, emails and handwritten

This link connects to a thought provoking short post a friend of mine reposted.   https://www.psychologytoday.com/…/the-trouble-texting

Various studies attribute similar enough percentages of sources of “meaning” in communication, and my clinical and personal experience have led me to a strong rule of thumb.  It’s quite challenging to follow, but if you do, you’ll never know the trouble and pain you’ve avoided – and that’s the point. I’ve spent 30+ years living with and learning from a very good writer [full disclosure – my wife, Peggy Payne, is a NYTimes Notable Book of the Year author]. Most of us can’t/don’t exercise her clarity of writing. And still, readers naturally interpret her novels in very different ways. In , we understand that one’s personal experience and personality are deeply involved in how we interpret both what we hear and what we read.

So I tell myself and my clients Not to discuss important emotional issues by text, email or handwriting, because about 90% of the time the reader thinks they understand what has been written, but they actually understand only about 50% of the time. It can help to write out one’s views about complex issues between people, but unless the conversation happens up-time in person, with all the body language and analogical markings [auditory: volume, intonation, pauses, intensity, etc], the back-and-forth misunderstandings can increase geometrically. often severely disrupting otherwise manageable relationships.

I think real intimacy is both the prize and the risk in talking through personal differences.  The inevitable, scary vulnerability of  considering up-time, in spoken words important clarifications of difficulties is likely a major factor when we avoid such discussions.

Let the sender and receiver be wary of written exchange about important personal differences.   Dr Bob

Please share your experience/response to this Post. I'd sure like to know, and it could be useful to someone else. You can click the Post's title to view the entire post, and Comment below, if you like. The "Name Field" will accept any name, so you can be Anonymous [Anon] if you prefer. You must enter your Email to post a comment, but your Email address will not appear publicly. Thanks, Dr Bob
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